News Item

Microsoft executive announces that players can sell all the goddamn used Xbox One games in the world, for all he cares

By John Teti • June 19, 2013

Microsoft executive Don Mattrick published a missive on the official Xbox site today that walks back many of the restrictions that the Xbox One was going to place on used game disc sales and offline play. “We’ve listened to your feedback and made changes” is the stated message. “Fine, you can unplug your goddamn internet and keep your precious GameStop trade-ins, you braying pack of Luddite ingrates” is the implicit message.

“We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future,” Mattrick writes in his opening paragraph, reflecting wistfully on the utopia-in-the-cloud that Xbox One might have ushered in if it weren’t for those meddling kids. He continues, “Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my [visionary] team and I have heard directly from many of you [backward-thinking troglodytes], read your [cretinous] comments and listened to your feedback [at least when we could hear you over the sound of your butter churns and tinfoil hats].”

As a result of your feedback—feedback that Don Mattrick insists is just swell and doesn’t at all make him want to murder small animals every time he opens his Twitter feed—Xbox One players will enjoy the following luxuries:

You can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

This update will be welcome news to those who were dreading the byzantine digital-rights management that promised to accompany the Xbox One’s game-sharing system. But it does also torpedo the lion’s share of that game-sharing scheme, such that Mattrick couldn’t resist delivering a few parting digs through gritted teeth: “The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc [as if we are in some crappy 1960 sci-fi B-movie]. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold [because you don’t deserve that privilege]. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray [partly out of practical considerations, partly out of spite].”

This is a short-term victory (if a mixed one), but the potential long-term success here is that players have forced the console makers to directly participate in a conversation about the nature of game ownership. In fairness to Microsoft, the company was attempting to advance that conversation on its own with the initial plans for the Xbox One. It’s just that many players were not ready for the answers that the Xbox team came up with.

In any case, though, the disc era is coming to an end, and we need to hash out the contracts—both legal and social—that will govern our game purchases in the future. Is the model of download services like Steam good enough for everyone? Or will players demand a simple method of sharing and trading digital games—and demand it loudly enough that Microsoft et al. can’t ignore it? The music and film industries are already trying to puzzle these issues out. What you’re seeing today is the result of the game console industry’s early, uncertain steps into that ethical muck.

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140 Responses to “Microsoft executive announces that players can sell all the goddamn used Xbox One games in the world, for all he cares”

  1. zerocrates says:

    Oh sure, I guess we’ll discuss this here and not on the Peter Molyneux farts article, where it was meant to be.

  2. PaganPoet says:

    Poor, brave Microsoft.

    Why can’t they also yield to the fact that everybody also hates Windows 8 and it should go away?

    • George_Liquor says:

      Here’s a fun arts and crafts project: Let’s put together a collage of all the wonderful idea MS has had to pull back because we just weren’t ready to accept their genius. I figure we could start with Microsoft Bob. 

    • UserGoogol says:

      Apparently “Windows 8.1” is going to have some moderate changes to try to address people’s problems: in particular there’s going to be a start button again, although it’ll just bring up the Start Page.

      • Malkovich Malkovich says:

        I don’t really get all the uproar over the start page. It’s an upgrade from the old start menu, as far as I’m concerned, and desktop mode is the same windows we all know and like well enough.

        • neodocT says:

          The desktop side of Windows 8 is good, slightly better than Windows 7, really. I do really dislike that it boots straight to the Start page, and downloaded Classic Shell solely to avoid that. It just irks me!

    • fieldafar says:

      But I like Win8 now. 

  3. Cool Lester Smooth says:

    Download services like Steam?  Hell no!

    GOG, on the other hand, has the right idea.

    • Malkovich Malkovich says:

      I don’t play PC games enough to have a strong opinion on Steam vs. GOG (whatever that is), but don’t all the crazy Steam sales make up for the DRM issues and inability to share games? Who needs to buy used or borrow from a friend when they’re selling popular games for under $10?

      • John Teti says:

        You nailed it. That’s the thing about Steam—they have worked out an implicit contract with their users in which the loss of trading privileges is balanced out just as you describe. (I’m not saying that Steam is the perfect solution, just that the pricing stuff you describe have created that balance.) Microsoft could set up the exact same system of digital privileges for the Xbox One and players would still be liable to hate it, at least at first, in part because MS hasn’t built up the trust (and in part because consoles are a somewhat different beast). These marketplaces are as much about trust and implied social contracts as they are about the hard black-and-white details that govern a player’s ability to buy, trade, or sell games.

        • George_Liquor says:

          My biggest issue with the Xbone’s Internet requirement was its implications of planned obsolescence. What would have happened to all the 10 or 15 year-old Xbones once the nanny servers went dark? Would they all become bricks? After all, MS killed Live support for the original Xbox less than 10 years after its debut, and at a time when people were still playing the shit of Halo online.

        • Mr_Propellerhead says:

           Also, there are rumours circulating that Steam may well be about to allow game-sharing…

        • fly says:

          It could be exactly the same, but it don’t mean a damn because Microsoft wouldn’t have any competition on Xbone. just look at the amazing digital sales on Xbox live currently: not that great? exactly. 

        • Sleverin says:

           I never really get the newly massive hate for Steam.  When it comes to PC games, how many people really trade in their games?  The least amount of games I’ve ever seen to buy used are PC games in any store that has them.  Their return prices seem exceedingly small in comparison to their console counterparts, and I can think of a lot of used console games I’ve bought but maybe only one used PC game.  The prices on Steam are insane and I will most likely play a game over and over if it’s really good (I’m looking at you 1000+ hours on TF2, 350+ hours on L4D2, and 200 hours on New Vegas….).  my only issue is when I buy a game and then it gets sold for 75% off less than 24 hours later.  That is the only thing that pisses me off.

        • Asinus says:

          @Sleverin:disqus — I haven’t really traded games since the olden days of floppies. What I hate about steam is that I cant play games i bought on disc if Steam is having problems or if my internet connection is down. “Oh, I can’t surf, I could play some Skyrim… Oh, no I can’t.” I would happily swap discs to prove ownership to get rid of steam dependencies. (See also: concerns of loss of authentication servers. I play old games all the time– what happens when it calls Steam and no one answers?) 

          If I buy games on steam, I get that that should be part of the deal, but I went to a store and bought the damn thing– same thing is true for several other games I own. 

          It’s dicky. 

      • Fluka says:

        Steam’s DRM is bearable given two conditions:

        A) Constant absolutely crazy super-sales.

        B) The fact that PCs are a (semi) open system and you can also get games on places like GOG.  

        (Though mandatory Steam-activation for games like Skyrim can make point B moot…)

        • Merve says:

          It can make point B moot, to an extent, but often other online retailers (e.g. Gamefly, Green Man Gaming, Gamersgate) will sell Steam keys for certain games at lower prices than Steam itself does. I assume that Steam allows this to happen because they’re receiving a cut off the profits from each Steam key, and they also know that people are lazy and will default to just buying things on Steam instead of making accounts with a bunch of different services.

        • Cheese says:

          Right, I see competition as the defining difference between acceding to Steam’s DRM system and Microsoft’s. People defending the XBone’s policies talked about our bright new digital-only future as if discs were the only thing stopping MS from having awesome Steam-like sales, but as long as the hardware and storefront are monopolistic, why the hell would they? When someone can open a competing storefront accessible by Xbox Live, or I can buy an XBone game download code on Green Man, then maybe we’ll see some aggressive pricing moves.

      • flowsthead says:

        Steam is also great because they keep their servers running for these games. Since they have a vested monetary interest in keeping the servers for these games up, you aren’t going to get into a situation like with Demon Souls where the multiplayer servers are just going to be shut down.

        Of course, that’s assuming that the game you bought on Steam is actually played through Steam. Games like Assassins Creed that are played through Ubisoft’s shitty service are fucked.

        • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf says:

          Unless you wait for them to come out on GOG!

          (The first is the only one out so far)

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        There’s a completely unsubstantiated rumor emerging that Steam may be incorporating a sharing system for games.
        It’s an exciting notion, partly because it’s easy to fantasize that all the scuttlebutt around the XBOX One may have actually influenced this (completely unverified) implementation.

      • Girard says:

        GOG (or Good Old Games) is a website run by CD Projekt (the guys behind Witcher) that sells games with zero DRM or other restrictions. They originally only sold classic DOS/Windows games ported to run on modern systems (hence the name), but also now sell some newer stuff (their library of contemporary games is smaller than Steam’s, but I think their library of classics is larger).

        They occasionally have Steam-style sales (one is happening right now), but not as frequently as Steam does, I think.

        But, yeah, the prices – especially sale prices – are the thing that finally got me to (grudgingly) accept Steam. I don’t mind not actually owning my games if the amount I paid is less than I would have to rent at blockbuster. If I ever paid more than $10 for a Steam game, I’d probably be more irritated at the system, but as it is I can deal with their bullshit. I still go to GOG first, though, whenever I can.

        • Malkovich Malkovich says:

          Thanks for the explanation; that actually sounds very cool. And speaking of The Witcher, they’re selling #2 for $6 right now. I don’t think my computer can handle it, but for $6 it might just be worth a shot…

        • aklab says:

          I’ve been a big fan of GOG for the past year or so but I had no idea it was started by CD Projekt. Nice!

        • uselessyss says:

          CD Projekt are pretty much impossible to hate. When they talk about giving ownership to the players, you get the feeling that they meant it, and they would actively fight to preserve that relationship. There’s also never the feeling that they’re putting on false airs; few companies seem as genuinely excited about their own catalog.

          People are all giddy over Sony’s consumer-friendly ways, but CD Projekt was all over “No DRM” before it was cool.
          They’re like the Pixies to Sony’s Nirvana.

          Or something.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Exactly.  And, @aklab:disqus , make sure to buy The Witcher games (and Cyberpunk 2077) on GOG, not Steam, so that Valve doesn’t get a cut of CDPR’s work in return for them not giving you the actual game.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          @uselessyss:disqus I’d say they’re more the Little Richard to Sony’s Pat Boone.  Or the Johnny Cash to Sony’s Jason Aldean.

      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        GOG is currently having a crazy sale (I just got Torchlight for free and Alan Wake+Expansion for $5).

        And the reason GOG’s better is that they just give me the game files when I buy a game.  I can stick them on a USB if I want to.  They’re mine.  When I buy a game on Steam, it’s like I’m buying a license to use the product, not the product itself.

      • Bureaupath says: also has crazy +50% sales. In fact, their summer sale is going on right now.

    • fieldafar says:

      I like Steam, but if I see the “scanning for steam games updates” dialog box one more time…

  4. George_Liquor says:

    Wow! I figured this might happen, but not until after it got a shellacking in the market. 

    Now, if only Microsoft would do something about packing in that damned unblinking eye of Mordor with every Xbone…

    • Dave Dalrymple says:

      That’s the next task for Microsoft’s PR department: convincing consumers that the Kinect is worth the extra $100. 

    • Bakken Hood says:

      Blinding the eye of Sauron requires a piece of tape and a scrap of foil.  The ears of Sauron are a bit trickier, though.

    • NephewOfAnarchy says:

       I’m probably going to put a piece of duct tape over that. Sure, they’ll still be able to listen to me jerk off, but at least they won’t have incriminating footage.

      • Citric says:

        They might assume you’re just vigorously mixing a cake.

        • Sleverin says:

          I’m not sure how they’ll justify how satisfying it will be to finish mixing said cake and yet not even bake the batter….

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I would love to believe that this decision was based on unhappy gamers, but we all know that the first week of pre-order amounts probably had a much larger impact.

      • Patrick Batman says:

         Unhappy gamers equals low pre-orders, so the system worked!  It looks like I’m going to have to eat crow–for once gamers put their money where their mouths are!

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      I actually think it’s really important that they keep the Kinect. “Creepy-always-watchingme” implications aside, it sounds like they want it to be a more integral part of the entire experience (and the games). Having it as an add-on for the 360 limited what you could do with it, similar to the bind they got themselves in with the hard drive.

      If developers know the Kinect will always be there, they can actually use it properly. Otherwise we’ll just end up with more arm-flailing.

      • caspiancomic says:

        I think you nailed the reason the Kinect is being made mandatory with the Bone. Unfortunately, I think the same reasoning is going to make porting titles and multi platform releases more difficult to accomplish going forward. I think this is probably Microsoft’s plan anyway (encourage developers to use technology that only exists with the Bone to discourage them from creating equivalent titles on the PS4, resulting in more Boney exclusive titles), and I can’t fault them for the strategy, but it’s another example of business strategies that indirectly shaft the consumer. I was pretty amped to get a chance to play Bioshock on my PS3. If the Bone gets an ultra rad timed exclusive that makes extensive use of the Kinect, it’s either not getting a multiplat release, or all the Kinect functionality is going to have to be stripped out, possibly neutering the experience.

        • Patrick Batman says:

           I’m kind of shocked that they’re trying that, if you’re right about their reasoning (mandatory Kinect for more exclusives).  It sure as hell didn’t work for the PS3’s cell processor!

      • Halloween_Jack says:

        If they simply wanted to put something in a game that said, “You need to have the Kinect connected to play this game”, that would be fine. It’s a ways from there to “You need to have the Kinect connected even when the console is off.

    • Phillip Collector says:

       There’s a solution for that. It’s called…puts on sunglasses…an eye patch!

  5. Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

    Wow John, with that title and first few paragraphs you are channeling the spirit of Sean O’Neal. I heartily approve of this.

    • aklab says:

      Seriously. There’s a dozen different gaming sites I could’ve visited to read this story but there’s a reason I chose this one first!

      • Fixda Fernback says:

        I actually saw the headline on a news site, and jumped over here to read the actual story. As per usual, Gameological didn’t disappoint.

  6. SensitiveSethPutnam says:

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in Microsoft’s post e3 meetings.  Bricks were shat.

  7. earl5265 says:

    Isnt it ultimately still going to be up to publishers?? 

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      That’s the unanswered question as far as I’m concerned. I’m assuming between this and what Sony announced during E3 publishers will not be able to set their own DRM/trade-in limitations, but I’ve yet to see any sort of solid confirmation. 

  8. Raging Bear says:

    Anyone else disappointed at not getting to see how this would have played out at (and post) launch? I was looking forward to some crashing and maybe a bit of burning.

    • GaryX says:

      Yeah, same. Probably because I doubt I’d get one for a long while, but it seemed like a glorious trainwreck waiting to happen.

    • DrZaloski says:

      I was hoping for some unrealistic explosions to go along with it as well, and the media making a bigger bandwagon that the Wii U hate one.

    • Phillip Collector says:

      In a way yes. More specifically I was happy that Microsoft made it easy for me to decide to buy only one console and that they made it easy for me to decide which of the two consoles to buy. Now I’m back to wondering how long I’ll go before I cave and buy both.

  9. Afghamistam says:

    So if the system was capable of this stuff all along, why even bother with insane shit like “console has to be connected to the net all the time”?

    • Malkovich Malkovich says:

      Because there were rumors Sony was going to do it too. They called Microsoft’s bluff, obviously, and now MS is doing big-time damage control.

      • Halloween_Jack says:

        That doesn’t make sense. MS could have come out as the white knight in that case. No, they were trying to drive the status quo themselves.

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      Because it sounds like they’ve taken a month of feedback, gone back to the drawing board, and fundamentally rethought some aspects of the system’s software?

  10. SisterMaryFrancis says:

    Kind’ve too little, too late isn’t it? I mean, kudos for them actually listening to the numerous complaints and realizing it could really damage their sales, but it seems almost like a moot point now. I’m pretty sure I’m going over to the PS4 as my next console, and there don’t seem to be any exclusives on the XBone that I feel I must have. I’m sure others feel the same way, but I wonder how many people they think they can get back to their side.

    • GaryX says:

      Eh, the console isn’t out for another 5 months or so. I doubt it’s “too late” in terms of the long game.

      • SisterMaryFrancis says:

        First impressions are tremendously important when dealing with the general public. E3 was essentially their big shot to get people to pay attention, and they paid attention for the wrong reasons. The media and Sony pounced on that quickly, probably too quickly for Microsoft to properly counter-attack. Sure, they made this announcement, but I don’t think it will catch the attention that their massive flameout got. The XBone is now infamous, and people who are just casual gamers (in a bit of an ironic twist, the exact people they were targeting) will probably associate the console to the original announcements and not remember the revision when the time comes for them to pick one of the two (or possibly the Wii U, but seriously just those two).

        • dreadguacamole says:

           Most casual gamers don’t really pay attention to this kind of thing, though. Most people here at work are still going for an xbone since it’s got Halo and Forza…

        • Rick Joyce says:

          I don’t think the “general public” gave a damn. The general public would probably just buy the next generation of whatever console they already had. It’s the more serious gamers who were upset and making their voices (and money/presales) heard.

        • Kal says:

          The Xbox 360 was also forever marred with the RRoD issue. Then it was (almost completely) fixed, and it sold like hotcakes for almost a decade.

          People have very short memories, especially when a problem is as thoroughly addressed as the DRM issue was.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Yeah, this is as much a battle over public trust and corporate image as it is of console specs or DRM. Microsoft may be slashing the more tyrannical aspects of the Bone, but the general public has already made a punchline out of the company and their new toy. All this backpedalling is definitely a good idea (and getting it out of the way now instead of waiting to see if they can survive once the console’s hit shelves was smart) but it’ll take a little more than this to get the company’s image out of the gutter.

      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Yeah, not to mention the whole “Windows 8” virus that they’ve been giving everyone under the guise of a new operating system.

  11. SensitiveSethPutnam says:

    What if you buy a second hand game years from now, when the xbox one servers have been turned off?  Are you screwed because of that one-time setup check-in?

  12. ChicaneryTheYounger says:

    They’ve fixed my second biggest issue with the Xbone, now they have to get some decent exclusives (other than shootin’, drivin’, shootin’ and drivin’).

    Oh and repair the massive loss of faith and trust, but that should be easy, right?

  13. TheMostPopularCommenter says:

    Like if u came here from AV Club

  14. MaZZM says:

    Now if they removeNetflix,Hulu+ and other such things from the Xbox Gold pay wall they might still have a shot at being that 1 box in  your home type of machine.

    Honestly if they had just madea  digital only console in the first place their DRM policies wouldn’t have been as bad. Now they just need to prove if there will be competitive pricing ala Steam.

  15. ferrarimanf355 says:

    Wow, Microsoft does the right thing, and you still have to be super-snarky like that? Just… damn.

    • ShrikeTheAvatar says:

      I actually think the article comes across as pretty balanced. It’s all in good fun.

    • Happily LS says:

      “Became worried that they might not get away with doing the wrong thing” is not the same as “doing the right thing”.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       If you read between the lines on the press releases, there is a definite passive-agressive message they are putting out, something along the lines of “Well, we thought you were evolved enough to follow us into the future, but your tiny subhuman minds just couldn’t handle all the new awesomeness we had in mind, so here’s the normal boring version instead.”

      • PhonyPope says:

        The funniest part is that they felt they needed to take something else away to even the scales, since they were being so magnanimous be removing the restrictions from disc games.

    • Fixda Fernback says:

      Microsoft is a corporation. You do not need to come to their defense. They will be okay rolling in their bajillions of dollars, even if some of us mean ol’ internet folk poke fun at them.

    • Halloween_Jack says:

      Some of us aren’t just haters when it’s convenient, sport.

  16. Terrence Cain says:

    Teti, you are an extremely immature writer. You have the right to be openly disagree with someone’s business tactics, but to go down to the immature standards you have in this piece is appalling to anyone with a brain. I agree that Microsoft are bullies,
    but they’re also not dumb. They will do whatever they have to do to sell
    their new XBOX Ones because they will go bankrupt if they don’t. So
    yeah, they’re going to backtrack and give their customers what they
    want. Digital may be the wave of the future, but it is a bad one because
    it takes all controls from the customers and leaves no historic
    physical imprint for future generations to look back upon. And XBOX will end up realizing this before it’s all said and done.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      “is appalling to anyone with a brain.”

      Unless of course a certain amount of humor is maintained. Otherwise one might just blow one’s brains out right now, what with issues comparable to Microsoft being a little trashed. Like landmines. Just like landmines.

      PS: I was entertained, not appalled. Maybe I don’t have a brain. Maybe it has to do with the fact that this page is a subsection of THE ONION!

    • This post isn’t for real, right?

    • George_Liquor says:

      After a careful analysis of the structure and wording of this article, my preliminary diagnosis is that it is something commonly known as a ‘joke.’ We’ll know conclusively once the lab results come back.

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

       They’re a billion-dollar corporation. I think they can take a little snark from a video game website. They don’t need you to defend them.

      • Citric says:

        I’ve never quite figured out that unflinching and aggressive loyalty to faceless multinational corporations that people have. I guess I’ve bought Sony consoles repeatedly, but that’s because I liked their exclusives, not because of a sense of loyalty.

        Every car I’ve ever owned is from a different company, for instance, and some people would actually frown on that.

      • Fixda Fernback says:

        Hahaha, wow that’s weird. I just wrote almost the exact same thing above in response to another guy getting upset about trashing Microsoft, before I’d even gotten this far and read yours. Great minds, etc etc

    • flayedsavior says:

      M$ making a proper financial decision doesn’t mean that we and Teti can’t lampoon them for the obvious cowardly money grubbing backtrackers that they are.  Every implication that was made by Teti came off the same as when I read the statement earlier on my own.  
      If Mattrick and M$ really were listening to consumers, they would have changed their policy before E3.  The ruckus was at a consistent fever pitch ever since the initial reveal.  But they didn’t.  It took a week of preorder data, and them seeing the money slipping through their fingertips to make them so desperate as to pull a 180.  
      Anyone could see that their purported “benefits of always online” was nothing more than lip service concealing their DRM scheme. And now, its evident.  

    • DrZaloski says:

      Knock-knock, anyone home in there? You need to come out and fix this mess.

    • djsubversive says:

      haha, I get it. You’re pretending to be mad on Microsoft’s behalf. Good one, Mr. Cain.

    • The_Juggernaut_Bitch says:

       Uh, no…

      Microsoft will not go bankrupt if the XBone is a flop.  Sure, they’ll take a hit.  However, MS is not solely in the home console business. They do have rather an impressive hold on the business workstation and server market.

    • Halloween_Jack says:

       agree that Microsoft are bullies, 

      but they’re also not dumb. They will do whatever they have to do to sell 
      their new XBOX Ones because they will go bankrupt if they don’t. So 
      yeah, they’re going to backtrack and give their customers what they 

      Really? Keen! I’ll be expecting the Kinect to be made optional, plus a $100 price cut, then.

  17. ItsTheShadsy says:

    On the one hand, I’m a little sad that this might limit some of the cooler, future-y aspects of the system (not needing discs, access to cloud computing, etc.). But on the other hand, really, it’s good to see they’re responsive.

  18. Effigy_Power says:

    “Dear Microsoft,

    you were a maverick, but you ruined it. You stood alone against the masses of ingrates who didn’t yet understand that you were about to revolutionize entertainment, social media and to a lesser degree, gaming. You defended your views against the dirty proles who, while buying your games and thereby paying your salaries, had the nerve to stand in the way of process. You alone drove innovation like a plow-shard, even against the express mistrust of your client base.
    But you gave up. You stood like a lone titan against a wave of negativity, truly ready to impose your sensible and well-meaning restrictions upon the unwashed masses, but you failed. Wracked by doubt and self-loathing and likely scared to death by the first week of pre-order statistics, you surrendered to the wish of the vox populi, and we all know they just want to kill everyone.
    Shame on you, Microsoft… you could have been something.”

    PS: Yes, of course that was sarcasm. But you have to imagine that a large amount of gamers, especially in our American culture that glorifies unreasoning hardliners and demonizes even the idea of compromise, that will be an emerging belief.
    This is a good thing, a victory. The people didn’t like what they saw and through the ubiquity of new media, social networking and viral marketing, all weapons designed to AID the companies financing them, they made their voice be heard.
    Microsoft should be happy that the vast majority will be too busy celebrating their democratic victory over the corporate giant to notice that this is likely a purely financial decision. And it should be purely a financial decision. Companies should treat their policies as rules of engagement with the open market and capitalism in general, not as unwavering and dogmatic ideologies that must be forced down the throat of its potential critics.

    Now we can go back to that devilish camera you require me to have plugged in all the time. Because that’ll be your next hill to climb. I don’t need the NSA to knew whether I shaved my legs that day.

  19. edincoat says:

    At E3, they say, Microsoft’s heart grew three sizes that day.

    (It is amazing what a kick in the wallet will do…)

  20. Ben says:


  21. Professor_Cuntburglar says:

    I don’t mind not “owning” games I buy, and not being able to lend them or sell them. I do mind paying $60 or $50 for a game and not being able to do those things.

  22. The_Misanthrope says:

    I want to give Microsoft *some* credit for actually thinking ahead to a disc-less future.  I want to, but the stuff they came up with was kind of shit.

    The reason Steam gets less flak for their DRM is because the games are cheap and the DRM is unobtrusive, for the most part.

    One wonders how much good will Microsoft would foster at this point to get over the bias that most people have against them.  They’ve been the mustache-twirling black hat of the tech world for as long as I can remember, so even if they spent the rest of their days in some kind of utopian open-source, indie-friendly fever-dream, there would still be regarded with suspicion and doubt.

    • Sudden_Valley says:

      There’s also a steep cognitive disconnect between buying computer games and buying console games, I think. For as long as I can remember, computer games have ALWAYS had piracy foolproofs (think the old StarCraft/Age of Empires product keys Blizzard/Microsoft would include on the back of jewel cases). Steam simply piggy-backed on that to create the immensely successful game-distro machine we know today. 

      For consoles, conversely, I know I still remember picking up a used copy of Sonic and Knuckles for Genesis from Funcoland many, many years ago. For better or worse, game trade-ins and the used game market are part of the console culture, and I think Microsoft saw first hand just how hard old habits die when dealing with longtime gamers.

      • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf says:

        It’s more “Valve realized that they needed to justify their unconscionably (for 2004) intrusive DRM by giving gamers so many shiny things that they don’t recognize what’s happening.”

  23. Shane McKinley says:

    Thanks microsoft guys. Considering how neither PS4 or Xbox 1 has that killer exclusive…going with PS4.

  24. On top of their AMAZING sales, people seem to forget that Valve is constantly improving it’s software at ZERO cost to it’s user, Screenshot management, Greenlight, Big Picture and Communities are but a few improvements made recently. At the speed Valve is improving Steam I can’t begin to imagine what it will look like in 5 years

    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf says:

      Personally I’ll take the whole “no DRM” thing that GOG has going for them.  When I pay for something, I like to own it.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      Considering it took them more than eight years to get the one feature I wanted from them (to let me install the game in whichever drive I damn want, dammit!), maybe not that much.
       They are getting a bit better, I’ll give them that.

  25. Jezzer says:

    The Digital Age will never take off as long as broadband is still widely unavailable in large swaths of the country.

  26. Sudden_Valley says:

    Is anyone else just a bit worried with how…readily…Microsoft made the changes in the face of such stark public backlash? It makes me wonder; if they already have the architecture in place to enact the seemingly draconian DRM measures they described over the last few weeks, what’s keeping them from simply enacting it AFTER we’ve dropped half a grand on their product?

    Sure, to do such a thing would be downright disingenuous and borderline unethical, and maybe I’m just being incredibly cynical (I’m a current 360 owner now and had all but resigned myself to buying a PS4) but companies have done worse.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

      The funny thing is that Sony probably made their decision about used games at the last minute before their E3 reveal.  Basically, Microsoft tested the waters with the whole DRM scheme and Sony got to see how that turned out without any risk on their part.  They were both holding shitty hands; Microsoft just folded first.

    • Merve says:

      If anything, the fact that Microsoft folded so quickly is a pretty good indication that they really didn’t need to implement this scheme at all.

  27. DrZaloski says:

    *cough* Remember like a couple months ago when this wasn’t even an issue at all? *cough*

    I love how everyone talks about how Sony wins everything because they DIDN’T do any of this, and then we just continue to laugh at Nintendo for not getting “brown pew pew game number um.” We really take things for granted until they’re yanked from us, don’t we? Then promptly forget about people who did the right thing when there wasn’t really any controversy over what the “right thing” was, but when there is controversy, doing the obviously “right thing” wins you E3, apparently.

    And now we’re all going to be too busy fantasizing about Peach in a catsuit and bitching about how Nintendo saved on of the best console developers (Platinum Studios) again.

    Oh well, I’ll be in the corner bitching about IMPORTANT things, like how Retro isn’t working on a Metroid or Starfox, but on a fucking 3DS Donkey Kong. Seriously, what the fuck Nintendo. I want my Retro Metroid.

    • Rick Joyce says:

      Metroid Rage?

    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf says:

      The only consoles I ever buy are Nintendos, because they’re the only ones doing stuff that my year and a half old PC can’t do much, much, much better.

  28. Phillip Collector says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Microsoft reversed coarse but in the relatively near future when digital downloading games is the norm we’re all going to look back at this and think how quaint it all is.

    People will be thinking, “remember when we had to get in our car and drive to a store to buy a game? Ha! My God, you had to use up all that fuel for your car to drive to the store, sit in traffic, sit through the stop lights, sometimes deal with the crappy weather, look for a parking space, hope you get there before the store closes,  hope the store still has a copy, stand in a line and feel weird that everybody else in line is 13 years old and your ten to twenty years older than them, then you’d listen to the Gamestop employee try to up-sell you on a bunch of crap you didn’t want to buy in the first place, THEN you’d have to drive aaaalllllll the way back home, through all the traffic, through all stop lights, park the car and then finally, FINALLY pop the disk in the console only to have to wait for a system update before playing it! AND WE LIKED IT LIKE THAT!!!!”

  29. Precarious Loaf says:

    With one simple policy switch, much was made right again. 

    Once past launch, which way will the switch be flipped again?

    It will be interesting to see if the trust can be earned again.

  30. Phillip Collector says:

    Microsoft could’ve avoided this whole mess with one simple solution: money. If they made Xbox Live completely free or offered a deal where you buy one digital download and get your next game for half price I think people would’ve been a little more accepting of their DRM issues.

  31. Xtracurlyfries says:

    I’m immensely disappointed in this. Why is this a victory for anyone except for Gamestop?

    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf says:

      Because you are allowed to buy used games, for far less than they cost originally, whereas before that would have been impossible.

    • Toparaman says:

      Because used games are bought and sold in way more places than Gamestop. 

  32. what if microsoft is trying to revitalize our entertainment driven society in a way that big screen movies did back in the 20’s. if you are always connected online, you could always be able to check up on what other people are playing and posting about in an instant. It could change how we game and socially interact through games. The kinect 2 would make it possible for people not to even have to use a contoller when in the main screens. It is trying to mimic what a lot of the newest smart t.v.s are even capable of now. people not being able to sell or trade games would make more people buy more games because we arent able to just get it from a friend, or for a lower price due to it being used. People that are really into gaming, a hardcore xbox fan,  and chose to buy an xbox one would be technically helping to boost the economy due to more video games sales. If sony would also join in with microsoft, players would have a really hard time not to buy either one. People that are PS fans and people that are xbox fans, would go on being those fans because there is no major difference in the consoles. Everyone would be connected to everyone else all the time, virtually limitless interaction between gamers and players across the world. i do think that xbox live should be free. People are already paying for their internet as it is. Why should we have to pay extra to play a game online when i could just buy a powerful pc and play online for free. I could be playing any of the major online games on a pc and without paying an extra fee for doing so. 
    I don’t know about you, but i think thats what microsoft is trying to get at. they were trying to push our digital social lives a step further through the power of gaming.